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Lenten Reflection: Day 33
Gospel, John 7:40-53
From the homilies of St. Augustine:
You remember, my beloved, in the last discourse, by occasion of the passage of the Gospel read, we spoke to you concerning the Holy Spirit. When the Lord had invited those that believe on Him to this drinking, speaking among those who mediated to lay hold of Him, and sought to kill Him, and were not able, because it was not His will; well when He had spoken these things, there arose a dissension among the multitude concerning Him; some thinking that He was the very Christ, others saying that Christ shall not arise from Galilee. But they who had been sent asked, “Why have ye not brought Him?” They answered that they had never heard a man so speak: “For not any man so speaks.” But He spake thus. Because He was God and Man.
But the Pharisees repelling their testimony, said to them: “Are ye also deceived?” We see, indeed, that you also have been charmed by His discourses. “Hath anyone of the rulers or the Pharisees believed on Him? But this multitude who know not the Law are cursed.” They who knew not the Law believed on Him who had sent the Law; and those men who are teaching the Law despised Him, that it; might be fulfilled which The Lord Himself had said, “I have come that they who see not may see, and they that see may be made blind.” For the Pharisees, the teachers of the Law, were made blind, and the people that knew not the Law, and yet believed on the author of the Law, were enlightened.
Nicodemus, however, “one of the Pharisees who had come to see The Lord by night,” – not indeed as being himself unbelieving, but timid, for therefore he came by night to the light, because He wished to be enlightened, and feared to be known. Nicodemus, I say, answered the Jews, “Doth you judge a man before ye know what he doeth?” For they perversely wished to condemn before they examined. Nicodemus indeed knew, or rather believed, that if only they were willing to give Him a patient hearing, they would perhaps become like those who were sent to take Him, but preferred to believe. They answered, from the prejudice of their heart, what they had answered to the officers, “Art thou also a Galilean?” That is, one seduced as it were by the Galilean. For The Lord was said to be a Galilean, because His parents were from the city of Nazareth.
I have said ‘His parents’ in regards to Mary not as regards to the seed of man; for on earth He sought but a mother, He had already a Father on high. For His nativity on both sides was marvellous: divine without mother, human without father. What, then, said those would-be doctors of the Law to Nicodemus? “Search the scriptures and see; that out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.” Yet the Lord of the prophets arose thence. “They returned,” saith the evangelist, “every man to His own house.”